Lots of people comb through “parts for sale” ads and junkyards to find the parts they need for the car they’re fixing up. Before you simply have your old car hauled to the scrap yard, explore all of your options. You might make a nice little bit of cash off of that junker.
Sell the junk car intact, as is
Step 1: Find the title. You cannot sell a junk car without the title.
Step 2: Make a list of everything that you know is wrong with the car. You need to let prospective buyers know what’s wrong with it and could actually get into trouble if you don’t.
You will also need to write down the mileage on the car, to the best of your knowledge.
Step 3: Try to determine a value. Online sites like NADAGuides and Kelley Blue Book, and Edmunds.com are good places to start.
Get estimates for how much it would cost to repair the damage, if you haven’t already. Subtract that cost for repairs from the value of the same type of vehicle in good running condition.
Step 4: Clean the car out. Remove all of your personal belongings. Wipe it down and vacuum it out, if there is enough carpet and upholstery left to clean.
Step 5: Check online for reputable businesses that buy used and junk cars. CarMax will appraise your used car and buy it from you. DamagedCars.com is a 4 1/2-star rated nationwide company that buys used and junk cars. Contact them to see what you can get.
Step 6: Sell the car locally. Advertise your junk car in the local newspaper and online sites like Craigslist. You may be surprised how many people will be interested.
Step 7: Check with local automotive salvage yards. They will take the junk car and pay you money for it. At the very least, they will pay you for the metal.
If the car runs, and you can drive it to them, they may pay more for it. Call around to all of the salvage yards in your area to get the best deal.
Step 8: Sign the title over to the buyer. You will want to give him or her the list of damages and a bill of sale, too. Cross your “t’s” and dot your “i’s.”
Sell it in pieces
Step 1: Determine what is salvageable. Anything that still works, as far as you know, is worth more. If the engine still runs, the transmission still shifts, and the windshield wipers still work, they can be sold separately.
- Tip: Make sure you put all fluids and scrap in appropriate containers and dispose of them responsibly. Take them to a hazardous waste collection site or scrap metal recycling center. You can get a little bit more money for the leftover metal scraps.
Step 2: Decide if you want to take it apart or let the buyer remove the parts. It is up to you.
There are pros and cons to both approaches. If you let the buyer do it, there will be no doubt where the part came from, which can be reassuring to the buyer. Depending on the part, the buyer may be able to test it before buying. The downside is that you will have a stranger in your yard taking a car apart, who may cause damage to your car.
- Tip: Remove your license plates and contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles to report that the car has been scrapped. You will probably have to turn the license plates over to them.
Step 3: Sell the parts online or locally. Again, Craigslist is a good way to do this or your local newspaper.
Lots of people actually do still pick up a paper and look through the classifieds when they want to buy something. Most newspapers are available online, too.
Step 4: Cancel your insurance. If you haven’t already, let your car insurance provider know that the car is no longer on the road.
Hopefully your old car is worth more than you thought, if only for its parts. If it was sitting on your property for a long time, it should be a relief to know that you’ve tidied up, made money, and upcycled automotive parts.